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Government Policy to Suppress the Spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2).  The current spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia has increased and expanded across regions, accompanied by the number of cases and the number of deaths. Therefore, in hopes of mitigating the causes of the global pandemic COVID-19, the Indonesian government has laid out a handful of provisions to help suppress the spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia. The provisions and regulations for mitigating COVID-19 can be in the form of: (i) enforced community activity restriction; (ii) widespread mandatory vaccination; (iii) tracing and tracking application; and (iv) travel restrictions. Below is a brief explanation for said provisions to help suppress the spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia.

Social and Community Activity Restrictions

 

COVID-19 has been declared as a pandemic by the WHO therefore countermeasures have been deemed necessary so that there is no increase in cases. For the purpose of countermeasures, the government had implemented Large-Scale Social Restrictions/Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar (PSBB) which took place in a number of regions in Indonesia starting in the country’s capital in Jakarta since 7 April 2020.  Due to the continuous of the COVID-19 spread in Indonesia, the Government decided to change PSBB into Enforced Community Activity Restriction/Pemberlakuan Pembatasan Kegiatan Masyarakat (PPKM), which is a more restrictive form of lockdown wherein non-essential and non-critical commercial activities are not allowed. PPKM is a form of social distancing, which means staying home and away from others as much as possible to help prevent spread of COVID-19. The practice of social distancing encourages the use of things such as online video and phone communication instead of in-person contact.

 

As of the creation of this publication, all provinces in Indonesia still implement the PPKM. As of the creation of this publication, Indonesia have had 4 (four) types of PPKM: (i) PPKM; (ii) Emergency PPKM; (iii) Micro PPKM; and (iv) PPKM Scale 1-4. Through PPKM, several policies were implemented as follows:

 

  • limiting the place/office work by implementing WFH by 75% (seventy five percent) and WFO by 25% (twenty five percent) by imposing stricter health protocols;

  • carry out online teaching and learning activities;

  • for essential sectors related to basic needs may still operate 100% (one hundred percent) with stricter operating hours, capacity, and implementation of health protocols;

  • for restaurant activities, eating/drinking on the premises by 25% (twenty five percent) and food service through delivery/take-away is still allowed according to restaurant operations hours;

  • limitation of operating hours for shopping centers/malls until 19.00 Western Indonesia Time;

  • permits construction activities to operate 100% (one hundred percent) by implementing more stringent health protocols;

  • allow places of worship to be carried out with setting a capacity limitation of 50% (fifty percent).

 

Subsequently, PPKM then developed into Micro PPKM. The Micro PPKM provided regulations regarding a few matters, namely: (i) the establishment of COVID-19 handling posts at the village and sub-district level; (ii) operating hours for shopping centers/malls until 17.00 WIB; as well as (iii) loosening office activity restrictions, namely WFO for 50% (fifty percent) and WFH for 50% (fifty percent).  Micro PPKM is carried out through coordination between all the authorities involved, starting from the Subdistrict Head, Urban Village Head, Village Head/Lurah, Satlinmas, Babinsa, Bhabinkamtibmas, Satpol PP, TPPKK, Posyandu, Dasawisma, community leaders, religious leaders, traditional leaders, youth leaders, counselors, facilitators, health workers, and youth organizations and other volunteers.

Along with the increased positive cases of COVID-19 in January 2021, the government then implemented the emergency PPKM with stricter policy to reduce the positive rate of COVID-19 in Indonesia. The policy is implemented throughout Java and Bali, and included restrictions as follows:

  • teaching and learning activities, including school, college, academy, place education/training is carried out regularly online;

  • activities in non-essential sectors enforced 100% (one hundred percent) WFH;

  • several essential sectors to apply WFH and WFO provisions stipulated by MoHA Instruction No. 15/2021 as follows:

  1. essential sectors such as finance and banking, capital markets, payment systems, information technology and communication, hotels for non-quarantine COVID-19 handling, export-oriented industries, shall be enforced a maximum of 50% (fifty percent) of staff shall WFO with strict health protocols;

  2. essential sector in the government that provides public services whose implementation cannot be postponed, shall be enforced a maximum of 25% (twenty-five percent) of staff shall WFO with strict health protocols;

  3. critical sectors such as energy, health, security, logistics and transportation, food and beverage industry and the supporting facilities, petrochemicals, cement, national vital objects, disaster management, national strategic projects, construction, basic utilities (electricity and water), as well as industries to fulfill the basic needs of the community, shall be enforced a maximum of 100% (one hundred percent) of staff shall WFO with strict health protocols;

  4. for supermarkets, traditional markets, grocery stores and self-service markets that sell daily necessities, the operating hours are limited to 20.00 local time with a visitor capacity of 50% (fifty percent); and

  5. for pharmacies and drug stores, may be open for 24 (twenty-four) hours.

  • eating/drinking activities on the spot public (food stalls, restaurants, cafes, street vendors, hawker stalls);

  • activities in shopping centers/malls/centers trading are temporarily closed unless access for restaurants, supermarkets and markets self-service can be allowed;

  • implementation of construction activities (place construction and project site) operating 100% (one hundred percent) by implementing the health protocol;

  • places of worship, public tourist attractions, arts, culture, sports and social activity community is closed temporarily;

  • public transportation is enforced by maximum capacity setting 70% (seventy percent);

  • wedding reception is closed temporarily;

  • keep wearing a mask correctly and consistently when carrying out activities outside the home and are not allowed to use a face shield without wearing a mask; and

  • the implementation of Micro PPKM in the Red Zone RT/RW remains in force.

With the drop of active cases numbers for COVID-19 in Indonesia, the Indonesian Government is now implementing PPKM with scales 1-4 (one to four) as a parameter to determine the policy and restrictions that must be followed. Pursuant to MoHA Instruction No. 41/2021, there are 4 (four) control zones for the spread of COVID-19 in each RT:

4 (four) Control Zones.png

4 (four) Control Zones

Source: MoHA Instruction No. 41/2021.

Furthermore, below are the parameter to classify PPKM Scale 1 (one) until PPKM Scale 4 (four) which can be identified through community transmission rate in which all cases are counted per 100.000 (one hundred thousand) of the population per week according to MoH Decree No. 1/2021:

Comparison Between PPKM Scale 1-4.PNG

 Comparison Between PPKM Scale 1-4

Source: MoH Decree No.1/2021.

As the implementation of the policy above continues, it may affect several sectors of business in Indonesia. Essential sectors that are allowed to operate as usual may not be affected as much, however other non-essential sectors may need to pay attention to the development of these policies in order to comply to the regulations while doing business in Indonesia. Moreover, it is important to note that due to the uncertainty of the situation, the PPKM policy changes every 2 (two) weeks depending on the situation of the area.

COVID-19 Vaccines and Vaccination in Indonesia

 

Vaccines are biological products containing antigens in the form of dead or alive microorganisms that are attenuated, still intact or parts thereof, or in the form of microorganism toxins that have been processed into toxoids or recombinant proteins, which are added with other substances, which if given to a person will cause immunity against a particular disease.  Moreover, vaccination is the provision of vaccines that are specifically given to actively generate or increase a person's immunity against a disease. Therefore, if a person one day contracts the disease, they are not going to get sick or will only be experiencing mild illness and will not be a source of transmission.

 

According to Article 4 MoH Reg. No. 10/2021, the implementation of COVID-19 vaccination aims to:

  • reduce the transmission of COVID-19;

  • reduce the morbidity and mortality due to COVID-19;

  • achieve herd immunity; and

  • protect the community from COVID-19 and to stay productive socially and economically.

 

In Indonesia, vaccines can be given through 2 (two) programs: (i) Vaccination Program; and (ii) VGR Program.  Vaccination Program is the implementation of vaccination to the public whose funding is charged to the government.  On the other hand, VGR Program is the implementation of vaccination for employees, families and other related individuals in the family whose funding is funded by legal entities/business entities.

 

The implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination is carried out in stages according to the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine.  According to the aforementioned availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, the government has stipulated a category of prioritized COVID-19 vaccine recipients in Indonesia as follows:

 

  • health workers, assistants for health workers and support personnel working at the health services facilities;

  • the elderly and public service personnel/officers;

  • communities that are likely to get the virus due to geospatial and economic aspects;

  • other communities.

 

Concerning the other communities as stated in point (d), representatives of foreign countries and international non-profit organizations on duty in Indonesia can participate in the implementation of the Vaccination Program or VGR Program.  Moreover, foreign nationals other than representatives of foreign countries and international non-profit organizations as may participate in the VGR Program.

 

In addition, COVID-19 vaccination services are carried out at service facilities owned by the Central Government, Regional Governments, or the community/private sector, which meet certain requirements. The said service facilities can be in the form of: (i) clinic; (ii) hospital; (iii) health service unit at the port health office; and/or (iv) public health center.

 

As COVID-19 vaccines continue to be developed, DGDPC Circular Letter No. 01/2021 stipulates that all heads of provincial health offices, heads of district/city health offices, hospital directors and heads/directors of healthcare facilities should organize the provision of COVID-19 vaccinations to COVID-19 survivors under the following conditions:

 

  • vaccinations should be provided to survivors who suffered from a mild to moderate disease severity at a minimum interval of one month after recovery;

  • vaccinations should be provided to survivors who suffered from a mild to moderate disease severity at a minimum interval of three months after recovery;

  • the type of vaccine that should be offered to survivors should be in line with available vaccine related logistics.

 

Lastly, everyone who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 is given a certificate of the Vaccination Program or the VGR Program in the form of a COVID-19 vaccination card or electronic certificate which contains the type of COVID-19 Vaccine. The certificate for the Vaccine can be accessed through the PeduliLindungi Application.

Role of PeduliLindungi

 

In the context of implementing COVID-19 health surveillance by utilizing telecommunications infrastructure, systems, and information technology, it is necessary to have an application to support the implementation of health surveillance. As the result, PeduliLindungi is the application used in the implementation of surveillance by the Government in dealing with the spread of COVID-19 and in order to facilitate a new order of life (new normal), with features such as: (i) tracing; (ii) tracking; (iii) warning and fencing; (iv) e-certificate; (v) global positioning system/GPS; (vi) digital diary/and; or (vii) other features established and/or in collaboration with other platforms. 

The PeduliLindungi application is integrated with a system that managed by the National Cyber and Crypto Agency and/or the Task Force for the Acceleration of Handling COVID-19 and is used for the benefit of handling COVID-19 by Ministries/Institutions which include: (i) Ministry of Communication and Information; (ii) Ministry of Health; (iii) National Disaster Management Agency; (iv) Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises; (v) Ministry of Internal Affairs Home Affairs; (vi) Ministry of Law and Human Rights; (vii) Ministry of Finance; (viii) National Army Indonesia; (ix) the National Police of the Republic of Indonesia; (x) Office of the Presidential Staff; (xi) National Cyber and Crypto Agency; and (xii) other Ministries/Institutions to be determined later. 

Furthermore, PeduliLindungi application is now a part of domestic travel requirements. As a result, domestic air travelers are now required to utilize the PeduliLindungi application to verify the negative result of an RT-PCR or rapid antigen test, as well as their vaccination status (mandatory first vaccine dose or fully vaccinated). In addition, those traveling by air in domestic routes are still required to comply with the following requirements:

 

  • implementation of strict health protocols;

  • implementation of strict health protocols during domestic travel;

  • provision of a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result, as well as a vaccination card, depending on the enforced community activity restriction (PPKM) level of the relevant destination and/or place of origin;

  • filing out of an E-HAC Indonesia form;

  • use of PeduliLindungi Application.

 

Referring to point (d) above, E-HAC is integrated in PeduliLindungi application. The E-HAC system was developed by the Ministry of Health as a system for rapid monitoring of all travelers who will come to Indonesia through ports and airports. With E-HAC, travelers must now register themselves before departure. Once they have arrived, they then must show the barcode on the E-HAC to health workers, who will check the data that has been filled in beforehand.

 

Pursuant to Circular Letter of COVID-19 Task Force No. 18/2021, all international travelers, both Indonesian citizens and foreign nationals must show a COVID-19 vaccination card or certificate in a form of physical or digital to prove that they have received the full dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as a requirement to enter Indonesia. The procedure for getting a verification for vaccination outside Indonesia as follows:

Flow Chart for Vaccine Outside Indonesia Verification.png

Flow Chart for Vaccine Outside Indonesia Verification

Source: Circular Letter of COVID-19 Task Force No. 18/2021.

Referring to the verification for vaccination outside Indonesia procedure in the graphic above, the documents that must be prepared for Indonesian citizens are in the form of an identification card with a NIK and the Identification used for verification shall be the NIK and the Vaccination Card.  Verification for Indonesian citizen is carried out by the Ministry of Health.

 

For foreigners, the documents that must be prepared are diplomatic permits from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or residence permits from immigration and Vaccination Cards. The ID used for verification is the passport number. Verification for foreigners with diplomatic permits is carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, while verification for foreigners with residence permits is still in the process of being finalized between Ministry of Health and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

Travel Restrictions in Indonesia

 

The government has stipulated policies including mandatory compliance of mask use and social distancing. Additional regulations have since been announced that impact domestic and inbound international travel, including updated quarantine and vaccination requirements for travelers.

 

During Emergency PPKM, domestic travelers who use private car, motorcycle, and transportation long-distance public transport (airplane, bus, ship, and trains) must:

 

  • show COVID-19 vaccination card (minimum first dose vaccination);

  • show D-2 PCR test for aircraft and Antigen test D-1 for transportation such as private car, motorcycle, bus, train and ships;

  • the provisions as referred to in point (a) and (b) only apply to arrivals and departures from and to Java and Bali and does not apply to transportation within the agglomeration area for example for the Greater Jakarta area; and

  • for logistics vehicle drivers and other goods transportation is excluded from provision of having a vaccine card.

 

Moreover, for international travelers, anyone arriving in Indonesia must undertake a mandatory 5 (five) day quarantine at designated facilities conducted by the Indonesian government. Two PCR tests will be administered. If the said international travelers tested positive, treatment is carried out in centralized isolation facilities for people without symptoms and people with mild symptoms and referral hospitals for people with moderate and severe symptoms, for Indonesian citizens at the expense of the government and for foreigners at their own expense.  International travelers entering Indonesia will be required to show proof (a physical or digital vaccination card) of COVID-19 vaccination card. Children under 12 (twelve) years of age, when accompanied by their parents, are exempted from this requirement. International travelers who cannot be vaccinated due to medical conditions are exempted from showing proof of vaccination against COVID-19 only with a doctor’s note or supporting documentation.

 

Furthermore, as of 15 September 2021, foreigner holding valid visa or residence permit can enter the Indonesian territory through the Immigration Checks after meeting health protocol determined by the ministry or agency implementing the handling of COVID-19.  A valid visa or stay permit as referred before consists of:

 

  • service visa;

  • diplomatic visa;

  • visit visa;

  • limited residence visa;

  • official residence permit;

  • diplomatic residence permit;

  • limited stay permit; and

  • permanent residence permit.

 

Pursuant to Director General of Immigration Circular Letter No. 01/2021, applications for visit visa and limited residence visa must also attach:

 

  • evidence of having received the full dose of COVID-19 vaccine;

  • a statement of willingness to comply with all applicable health protocols in Indonesia; and

  • proof of ownership of health insurance or travel insurance that includes health financing, and/or a letter stating willingness to pay independently if affected by COVID-19 while in Indonesia.

 

Therefore, under MoLHR Reg. No. 34/2021 foreigners or non-Indonesian citizens are allowed to enter Indonesia. However, MoLHR may prohibit and deny entry to foreigners from certain countries with high rates of COVID-19 spread. It should be noted that visa-on-arrivals are still not being granted until such time that the Indonesian government has deemed the COVID-19 pandemic to be over.